Someone once said you’re a real San Franciscan when you put on your winter coat to go out and BBQ in July. People who live here understand that because the weather throws a few monkey wrenches into being able to properly BBQ here depending on what part of the city you live in.
When I did my brief stint in the Mission we generally had good weather most of the year so BBQing wasn’t too difficult. When you live near the coast in the Sunset or Richmond districts things get a little more challenging. We get cold and wind here. I skipped the corned beef for St. Patrick’s day and decided to grill some steaks. It was a very windy day so I knew I had to start the grill early. We’ve got a propane grill so it needs some time to warm up. It took about a half hour before the grill got up to 400°. I figured I’d be going a little longer for the steaks and I opened the grill and dropped the steaks on it and the thermometer now said it was 300°. So much for the sear and grill lines.
In warmer weather like we get in our Indian summer later in the year I can usually get the grill up to over 500° in under 15 minutes. That’s when cooking outdoors is fun. Prior to the propane grill I remember that El Niño year late in the 90’s when I grilled on a hot New Year’s Eve when it hit 80°. My little Smokey Joe charcoal grill got so hot that I singed the hair on my arm. The steaks ended up cooking too hot and where blackened on the outside while raw on the inside.
These are things you need to understand when you grill in the outside lands. If it’s windy or cold your grill won’t get as hot and on a hot day it’s better to indirectly grill unless you have a propane grill that lets you control the heat. I’ve been grilling for years and have learned how to take the weather into effect even mildly enjoying grilling in a heavy fog where the water sizzles on the grill [which also cools the top area creating a circular effect which cools your grill.
So take these tips into account if you’re out in the windier areas. We unfortunately have a gorgeous view because we’re up on a hill, but that also puts us into a direct line of attack from the salt air off the beach so it can get very windy. I’ve even had my propane grill blown over with the wheels locked.